Tupelo Moves Closer To Finalizing Public Transit Program

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) –  Tupelo residents could be closer to using a public transportation system.

The City Council is expected to vote whether to set aside money to fund the initiative.

For years, Tupelo city leaders have talked about the need for a public transit system.  Now, they may be close to finalizing a plan.

“What we have come up with is a pilot program, where we can actually see how it works,” said Ward Four Councilwoman Nettie Davis, who is a strong public transportation system advocate, and believes the current proposal meets many needs.

The program would be operated by Lifecore Health Group, through its transportation wing called “Climb Up.”

Under the current proposal, a pilot program would run for 15 months.  Initially, rides would be free, with a one dollar fee once the service is established.

“What we have is a hybrid where you would have fixed route and on demand you could call in advance, it would help people that don’t live near where a stop would be,” said Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton.

He says before any contracts are signed, it’s important to make sure funding is in place.  The council will consider setting aside $225,000 for the pilot program.

“Council members are all looking out for the best interest of the city, I’m not being critical of council, but at the same time, some want a guarantee of success, but there’s just not a guarantee of success on a public transportation model in Tupelo,” Mayor Shelton said.

Davis says it’s time to move ahead.

“I think making Tupelo a complete city and to improve quality of life, I think transportation is one entity that will make it better,” Davis said.

If city leaders set aside the money it could take several months or longer before all of the details are worked out , and the pilot program begins.

Initially, Lifecore said it might be ready to start the service this April.  However, personnel changes have pushed that date back.

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